Things That Matter

Women Across Argentina Are Taking To The Streets Demanding More Freedoms With The #NiUnaMenos Feminist Revolution

Cecilia Palmeiro is the fierce mujer behind Argentina’s “Ni Una Menos” (not one less) campaign against femicide. Their first national protest was in October 2016, and since then, the movement has touched different corners of a larger issue of systematic female oppression. Abortion is illegal in Argentina, recently ratified after a failed attempt to legalize abortion last year. Ni Una Menos sees abortion rights and economic security as two sides to the same coin.

On Monday, Palmeiro organized another major national strike, drawing in thousands of Argentine poderosas to call on the country to take emergency action for women.

In recent years, Argentina’s economy has plummeted into crisis, causing the government to cut social services.

@RaffaghelliMae / Twitter

The families that once relied on these services are forced into private debt. Palmeiro also sees a rising pattern of women being forced to stay in abusive relationships because it is financially unfeasible to leave.

This year’s protest may have had an undercurrent of economic goals, but the message is the same.

@theGirlMob / Twitter

Protesters held signs showing the faces of women who have been murdered by their abusive partners. The message is simple: we can’t afford to lose one more woman to unfettered sexism.

With another election coming up in October, protesters regrouped the next day to advocate for abortion rights.

@helloallohola / Twitter

Abortion is only legal in Argentina if the woman was raped or the pregnancy is a risk to her health. Congress rejected the National Campaign for Legal, Safe, and Free Abortion’s bill last year. They’re submitting another bill this year to legalize abortion.

These three touchstones–ending domestic violence, ending the economic crisis, and legalizing abortion–are the key to gender equality for Palmeiro.

@AmyBwrites / Twitter

Like most social issues, there isn’t one easy fix. It’s an issue that we, as a society, have created over generations and that take sweeping efforts to untangle and undo.

And, like always, women in poverty feel the effects of patriarchal laws the most severely.

@GabyNaso / Twitter

Yamila Picasso of the National Campaign for Legal, Safe and Free abortion told Al Jazeera, “We see that there is a clear relationship between these factors because abortion is a matter of social justice. Those who have the economic means can have an abortion, and those who do not must have unsafe or clandestine abortions.”

Around Buenos Aires, you’ll find political art wherever you look.

@LasNegrasArre / Twitter

#NiUnaMenos is calling for stricter punishment laws against men who commit violent acts against women, in the hope of deterring and changing the culture. Women feel a danger walking the street that most men don’t, and this bench exemplifies this implicit policing of women’s bodies.

Here, you’ll see the shoes of murdered Argentine women.

@raquelvivanco / Twitter

The National Register of Femicides reported 1193 femicides between March 6, 2015 and May 20, 2019. Leaving the shoes of these women at the steps of Congress was an effort to make their absence more visible.

A walk around Buenos Aires shows abundant examples of protest.

@mariekeriethof / Twitter

This wall effectively reads “Death to machísmo!” #NiUnaMenos’ message is everywhere–from random walls to not so random walls.

#NiUnaMenos is also targeting churches at the heart of abuse scandals.

@mariekeriethof / Twitter

Twitter user @mariekeriethof posted this photo of graffiti on a church that reads “Trash Church.” She writes, “Anti-Church graffiti on the side of Salta’s main church, focusing on abuse. I’ve seen a lot of very angry graffiti on this topic around Chile and Argentina. Also churches with buckets of paint thrown at them by protesters. #niunamenos”

Even the cast of Orange is the New Black is speaking out.

If you care about this issue, tweet out about it using the hashtags #NiUnaMenos or #VivasNosQueremos. Argentina, estamos contigo.

After COVID-19 Shut Down Flights, A Man Sailed Across The Atlantic Ocean All So That He Could See His Dad

Things That Matter

After COVID-19 Shut Down Flights, A Man Sailed Across The Atlantic Ocean All So That He Could See His Dad

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For one Argentian man, there really ain’t no mountain high enough.

After the coronavirus pandemic halted international travel, Juan Manuel Ballestero set sail on a three-month-long high seas journey to his see his 90-year-old father, proving not even a novel virus could keep him from his dad.

Ballestero set out to see his father after his home country of Argentina canceled all international passenger flights in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

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Misión cumplida! La fe cruza oceanos

A post shared by Juan Manuel Ballestero (@skuanavega) on

According to The New York Times, Ballestero had been on the Portugal island of Porto Santo when Argentina canceled international passenger flights. Still determined to see his father, Ballestero decided to set out on an 85-day sailing voyage across the Atlantic Ocean. All on his own.

“I didn’t want to stay like a coward on an island where there were no cases,” Juan Manuel said in an interview with The New York Times. “I wanted to do everything possible to return home. The most important thing for me was to be with my family.”

Ballestero is a veteran sailor and fisherman who has been a lover of water since he was 3 years old.

Still his family expressed that they were nervous about his decision to go his journey alone.

“The uncertainty of not knowing where he was for 50-some days was very rough, but we had no doubt this was going to turn out well,” his father, Carlos Alberto Ballestero said in an interview with The New York Times.

He also documented the trip all while on Instagram.

Though Ballestero made the trip home safe and sound, he did run into a few issues along the way.

Ballestero said that on April 12 authorities in Cape Verde barred him from docking his sailboat so that he could replenish his food supply and refuel his boat. At the time, Ballestero was eating only canned tuna, fruit, and rice. Because of Cape Verde’s denial, he was forced to continue forward with less fuel and rely on winds. What’s more, towards the end of his trip, Ballestero hit choppy waters and was forced to add an additional 10 days to his trip while in Vitória, Brazil.

Despite the complications, Ballestero said he never considered giving up. “I wasn’t afraid, but I did have a lot of uncertainty,” he explained. “It was very strange to sail in the middle of a pandemic with humanity teetering around me… There was no going back.”

Ballestero arrived on June 17 in Mar del Plata.

“Entering my port where my father had his sailboat, where he taught me so many things and where I learned how to sail and where all this originated, gave me the taste of a mission accomplished,” he shared before revealing that he had to take a test for COVID-19 before he could see his family. Fortunately, after 72 hours of waiting for his results, he found out that he was COVID-19-free and able to enter Argentina.

Despite his long trip, Ballestero said that he’s eager to hit the waters again soon.

“What I lived is a dream. But I have a strong desire to keep on sailing.”

Chrystul Kizer, A Sex Trafficking Victim, Accused Of Murder Freed On Bail Thanks To The Chicago Community Bond Fund

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Chrystul Kizer, A Sex Trafficking Victim, Accused Of Murder Freed On Bail Thanks To The Chicago Community Bond Fund

Chrystul Kizer / Getty

Chrystul Kizer, a 19-year-old, who had been charged with the murder of her abuser and trafficker Randall P. Volar, III in 2018, has finally been released from police custody. The news comes after the Chicago Community Bond Fund, an organization that posts bails for people charged with crimes in Cook County, Illinois, posted her bail.

In 2018, Kizer was charged with murdering her abuser and sex trafficker in Wisconsin.

At the time, of her arrest, Kizer was 16. She has been in federal custody for two years awaiting trial on a $1 million bond. Kizer had been charged at the time with first-degree murder, arson, and possession of a firearm.

In June 2018, Kizer had been a human trafficking victim who was being abused by Valor for at least a year. Valor was found shot and killed in his home in Kenosha, Wisconsin. At the time of his death, his entire house went up in flames. In the hours before the arson, Kizer allegedly shared a photo of herself in Valor’s home, and days later filmed a video of herself waving a gun.

According to police, Kizer allegedly confessed to killing Valor and said that “she got upset and was tired of Volar touching her.”

After Kizer was arrested, the Kenosha Police Department revealed that they had been investigating him since at least early 2018. The police had been investigating his role in a  human trafficking scheme that abused underage girls. The Kenosha Police Department was also looking into Valor for possible “child pornography.”

Since her arrest, Kizer received an overwhelming amount of support from activists and celebrities like Alyssa Milano.

Former human trafficking victim Cyntoia Brown-Long also spoke out on her behalf. Jennifer Bias the Trial Division Director at the Office of the State Public Defender. called Kizer a “traumatized child” who had been “enticed and abused repeatedly by Randy Volar, will continue to suffer for the rest of her life. While Chrystul will never be able to erase what Mr. Volar did to her, she now has a fighting chance to assist in the preparation of her defense to these very serious charges from outside of a jail cell.”

Kizer’s bail bond was paid off by the Chicago Community Bond Fund after it was lowered from $1 million to $400,000. The organization said that they had managed to pay off Kizer’s bail thanks to donations pushed by the Black Lives Matter movement. They explained that all excess donations would be used to “establish a national bail fund for criminalized survivors of domestic and sexual violence under the direction of Survived & Punished and housed at the National Bail Fund Network.”

Fortunately, the Chicago Community Bond Fund has committed themselves to fighting for Kizer’s rights as a victim and survivor of human trafficking